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‘Tis the season to cut your own Christmas tree


It’s never too early to get into the Christmas spirit! Starting this week, Christmas tree permits can be purchased or redeemed at Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest offices.

Individual Christmas tree permits are $5 each and can be purchased or redeemed on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Deschutes or Ochoco Supervisor or District Offices and a number of Central Oregon retailers.

Additionally, National Forest offices in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville will be open on a few select Saturdays between now and Christmas. On December 8 and 15, visitors can visit the Deschutes National Forest headquarters at 63095 Deschutes Market Road in Bend from 10 am to 2 pm and the Crooked River National Grassland office at 274 SW 4 th Street in Madras from 9 am to 1 pm to purchase a permit.

The Ochoco National Forest headquarters at 3160 NE 3 rd Street in Prineville will be open December 8, 15 and 22 from 9 am to 1 pm to purchase Christmas tree permits.

As always, permits are also available at several commercial outlets across Central Oregon. Each household can purchase a maximum of five permits.

For the fourth year in a row, Smokey Bear and Santa Claus are teaming up to bring some special holiday cheer to fourth graders across the country! As part of the national Every Kid in a Park initiative, the U.S. Forest Service is excited to announce that all fourth graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from their local national forest.

In order for students to receive a free tree permit, they must present a valid paper voucher printed from the Every Kid in a Park website.

Step 1: Visit and follow instructions to obtain the paper voucher.

Step 2: Print out the paper voucher.

Step 3: Bring the paper voucher to a National Forest office to claim the free

Additional information and a list of retailers can be found online at

As a reminder, weather conditions at higher elevations can be dramatically different from local conditions and visitors should be prepared for cold and unpredictable weather. Additionally, most forest roads are not maintained for winter driving, so snow patches or debris may be encountered.

Bring a hand saw or axe as well as winter clothing and safety equipment. Tire chains and a shovel are recommended, as is extra food, drinking water, blankets, a flashlight, first-aid kit and survival gear. Tree cutting and travel can take longer than anticipated, and individuals are encouraged to notify a friend or family member of the anticipated destination and to leave the woods well before dark.

To keep a tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard, leave it outside until you’re ready to move it indoors. Cut the trunk at an angle before placing it in the stand and remember to refill the stand’s reservoir daily.

Every Kid in a Park

Every Kid in a Park is a national effort to encourage children to visit national parks, forests, and public lands. In November and December, the Forest Service is promoting winter recreation on national forests, holiday tree permits, and the annual Capitol Christmas Tree campaign.

From sea to shining sea, our country is home to gorgeous landscapes, vibrant waterways, and historic treasures that all Americans can enjoy. But right now, young people are spending more time in front of screens than outside, and that means they are missing out on valuable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in the spectacular outdoor places that belong to all of them.

The Every Kid in a Park initiative calls on each of our agencies to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors and inspire a new generation of Americans to experience their country’s unrivaled public lands and waters.

Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive an “Every Kid in a Park” pass that’s good for free admission to all of America’s federal lands and waters — for them and their families — for a full year. For more information, visit

The Pacific Northwest Region consists of 16 National Forests, 59 District Offices, a National Scenic Area, and a National Grassland comprising 24.7 million acres in Oregon and Washington and employing approximately 3,550 people. To learn more about the U.S. Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest, please visit

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